Jonathan Bryce liked working with computers as a youth and had an older brother who was one of Rackspace's first 12 employees. He urged Jonathan to work at Rackspace, and Bryce became familiar with many phases of the operation, from racking servers to customer service and technical support. He partnered with website designer and friend Todd Morey to host sites on their own rented servers in Rackspace. They left Rackspace in 2005 to branch out into their own website building and hosting business, Mosso Cloud, named for an Italian musical notation phrase that means "to play faster and with more passion."
But Mosso still ran on servers in the Rackspace data center. Rackspace executives saw the relationship between its hosting-services business and emerging uses of cloud computing, so they asked Bryce to keep building out the Mosso Cloud. He had a system that could launch applications on a website and was thinking about a virtual machine launching system. Then Rackspace bought Slicehost, which already had such a system. Its virtual machine management became part of Mosso, and Bryce rejoined the company as the head of Rackspace Cloud.
Rackspace attempted to expand its cloud computing business by distinguishing itself from the market leader, Amazon Web Services. It offered smaller, get-started virtual servers, at $0.015 an hour. And it opened up its cloud API, prompting NASA to propose that they combine their cloud efforts in a joint project, OpenStack. By 2009, Rackspace saw OpenStack as both the means of spreading a common cloud computing base in private companies that could interoperate with Rackspace, and a means of changing the terms of competition with Amazon.
Rackspace led OpenStack as a sponsor, but realized it would have greater appeal as a more broadly sponsored project. It turned over management to the newly formed OpenStack Foundation in September. Both Cisco's CTO of cloud computing, Lew Tucker, and Red Hat's Brian Stevens, both members of the foundation's board, said Bryce was their top candidate to become its executive director, a post he accepted. At age 31, he's an innovative spirit with implementation experience who asserted himself when it still wasn't clear which direction cloud computing would follow.
Photo of Jonathan Bryce, OpenStack from openstack.org website